American whistleblower Edward Snowden has written a letter to a Malawian girl with albinism to show solidarity with her and other people with albinism who are attacked for their body parts.
Following Amnesty International’s letter for rights campaign to mark Human Rights Day on December 10, Snowden has written a letter to the 10 year-old Malawian girl with albinism, Annie Alfred, to encourage her.
In the letter Snowden, who is in fourth year of exile in Russia, said it is shameful that people are being persecuted for being different.
“Your differences are not weaknesses, they are strengths,” he tells Annie. People with albinism in Malawi are sometimes called “ghost” or “money” and they also face physical attacks. Snowden hopes government will protect people with albinism including Annie from such attacks. “No child should fear that her liberty to participate and live as she desires is subject to the superstition and prejudice of others,” he said.
He then left her with words of encouragement: “Embrace the things that separate you from the crowd of the ordinary, and never stop defending the right to be different, no matter how difficult the times. Each of us is a treasure of the earth.”
At least 18 people with albinism have been killed for their body parts in Malawi since November 2014, Amnesty International said in a report months ago.
The body parts are sold for use in remedies by witchdoctors who say albino parts bring good luck or wealth.
Amnesty said in its report that women and children are especially vulnerable to attack because of the myth that having sex with a person with albinism can cure HIV/AIDS.
33 year-old Snowden is a former United States of America intelligence community officer and he left the US in 2013 after leaking details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence.